The holidays would never be the same without my Christmas cards from friends and relatives strategically arranged like garland around the open French doors to my living room. This area served as the first stop for visitors who entered my family’s home. They couldn’t help but admire the personalized Christmas cards that caught their eyes. Aunt Gert and Uncle Klaus were notorious for adventure and each year they would write about new escapades in their Christmas cards. Everyone looked forward to reading about where they traveled to and what predicaments they got themselves in to…and the content was always as amusing as it was educational.
After appreciating the Christmas cards, guests walk through the open French doors and see the grand piano, which in the past served as the gathering place each holiday when loved ones and guests would burst into harmonic caroling. Fritz always started off the night tickling those ivory keys to tunes of those upbeat classics: “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer,” “Jingle Bells,” and “Joy to the World.” Zelda would sit back cracking her knuckles awaiting her turn at the piano to play the mellow tunes that included “The First Noel,” “Little Drummer Boy,” and “Silver Bells.” They entertained guests throughout the evening and everyone always knew when the night was winding down; Fritz and Zelda would sit together on the piano bench and simultaneously start playing “Silent Night.” No matter where guests had scattered to, this song drew everyone back to the grand piano for what they knew would be one of the last tunes of the night. When the song concluded we held our glasses up high and toasted to another memorable holiday before joining in the final holiday classic “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.”
In recent years growing families, out of state residences, and busy schedules has kept the tradition from continuing, but for me the magical moments come alive each Christmas. I remember the joy and fun each time I gaze atop the piano where I display the personalized Christmas cards from my dear family and special friends who at one time, on that very spot, let their vocal pipes loose for the sake of good times and tradition.